Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Getting frustrated!

The house has been on the market for about 90 days now. Our realtor says to give it another month, because the homes in our neighborhood average over 100 days. We have had no showings for 2 weeks--the excuse is that school has started and we just passed Labor Day weekend. Our realtor has won an online ad blitz and our property will be featured, as of yesterday, sent to over 5000 realtors. We're hopeful to get some more interest and showings out of the ad. Not sure what else to do. Weary of waiting.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

NAS Pensacola

We visited NAS Pensacola this Labor Day weekend. A 7 hour drive from Franklin, TN. We rented a condo on Pensacola Beach--highly recommend Emerald Isle condos-a 17 story high rise on the beach. We stayed in a 2BR/2BA, well appointed condo. These are all owned and managed separately, there is no check-in desk in the lobby. All condos have a gulf view and the beach access is via a short wooden walkway over the sand. The complex has coded gate and building entry, 2 outdoor pools, a hot tub and an exercise room off the lobby. 

We understand that the "Blue Angels" have practice over the beach area every Tuesday--and they actually fly level with this condo--you can see the pilots!!

The drive to NAS was about 25 minutes door-to-door. Easy to get on base with just driver's license, easy to find barracks, easy to leave base. We entertained a total of 5 sailors for the weekend.

Unfortunately, Tropical Storm "Lee" stayed with us all weekend, but the hot tub and pools were well used by the group! Rare lightening, but probably as much as 7 inches of rain fell, the winds howled (our balcony sliding glass door sounded like Chewbaca in pain!) and clocked locally at 45 mph!

It was a relaxing weekend, our daughter celebrated her 18th birthday with us and there was no pressure to entertain because "our" sailors were just glad to get off base!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August is almost gone!

We spent the first half of August preparing to visit Great Lakes, IL for our daughter's graduation from Navy boot camp.

We flew to Chicago/Midway on Thursday, August 11, rented an SUV and drove over an hour to the Ramada that was about 5 miles from the base. We got there just as the Navy family "meet and greet happy hour" had ended. The property was tired, but the rooms were clean and did not smell like disinfectant! The indoor pool was cold and the hot tub was out of service. The deluxe continental breakfast room was crowded and the food was what you'd expect.

Friday, we ate breakfast at a pancake house on the way to the base--we didn't want to wait in line for a continental breakfast at 6:30a.m. We arrived at the base by 7:30a.m. for a 9a.m. ceremony.Good thing we get there early--the traffic was bumper to bumper, we were able to park in a covered lot, stood in a queued security line that wound through a mini-museum of training camp educational displays (and several K-9 patrols wandering through the crowd), checked in with ID and proceeded to the drill deck. We sat in bleachers that were immediatley in front of where her division would stand. We learned there were 1003 sailors who graduated that day--with another 60 or so sitting in the bleachers as they had not completed their testing and were being held back. The formal ceremony lasted 1 1/2 hours with the band, rifle squad, chorus and flag corps performing along with the obligatory speeches and recruit awards. We then had to work our way down to the drill deck to find our little sailor! Best hug ever!

We were able to spend the next 7 hours with her. We also adopted 2 other sailors for the afternoon because their families could not attend the ceremony. They wanted to eat pizza--so off we went to Giordano's-a franchised "original stuffed pizza parlor" located in a strip mall--the pizza's were huge! Yummy too! We sat there for about 2 hours while they downloaded all their stories about boot camp--a lot of laughter and secrets! They were "dying" for Starbuck's so we stopped in (right next door) and they had their fill...over to Borders to help them with their going out of business sale and then on to the motel. They had not had any electronics during boot camp, so we loaned our phones while they called family and friends. And we had 2 computers with us, so they were able to catch up on facebook, and even stared at the tv for awhile. The time went by too quickly, but we had to get them back by 7--we encountered bumper to bumper traffic again heading back to the base..the kids were getting nervous and many of the other sailors in traffic with us had bailed out of the cars and were walking back...so our 3 followed suit. Quick hugs and they were on their way! Our daughter and one of the other sailors were to catch the bus to the airport at 5a.m. Saturday morning--so we did not get to see them again!

We stayed until Sunday and did some touristy things--Saturday, the boys went to 6 Flags and had a fun time on the roller coasters, I hung out at the pool and did some reading and napping! Sunday, we packed up and left the hotel for downtown Chicago--went to the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and went up to the observation deck 103 stories up--the have an area called "The Ledge" which was a plexiglass box window that you could stand on and look straight down--I only got my toes over the edge, our son didn't get that close but my husband stood out there....we then went to the museum of Science and Industry, disappointed, very crowded, low blood sugar, didn't stay long...went on to the airport and returned home safely!

Where has the summer gone?

July just flew by!

We visited my father, sister and her husband in Greensboro, NC--had a lot of laughs. We visited their favorite winery and just spent the hot day under canpoy and oscillating fan. We took a basket full of snacks--breads, cheeses, meats, and crackers and just snacked and drank our way through the day. Thank goodness for a DD (my father)!

The next weekend we traveled to Pittsburgh and visited family and friends. The daughter of our college friends was married in Ligonier-about 2 hours from the in-laws house. The reception was held at the Ligonier Country Inn, we were fortunate enough to have reserved a room onsite. A quaint inn with pretty much anything you would want/need. The reception hall and pool were literally steps away from our room! It was such fun being with friends, catching up and attending their well planned celebration! We also spend quality time with nieces and nephew---did the "tourist" thing, went up the Duquesne Incline, ate at Primanti Bros, visited the Andy Warhol museum, ate at Wholey's Fish Market. Our son attended a Pirate game with his uncle and cousin. Fun!

Two weekends off--used to catch up on yard work! No, the house has not sold yet! Another open house was held the weekend we were in Pittsburgh--5 couples visited, good feed back, but no offers.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Things change---

My husband's company has transferred him back to Nashville. He will manage a project for the new convention center downtown, slated to begin in September 2011 and run through early 2013.

Our plans have only shifted, not canceled! We will keep our house on the market, when it sells we will move to a local apartment. We will decide from there what the timing will be for our early retirement.

Always changing!

A saying that I like: "Stay flexible, that way you won't get bent out of shape!"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

In the Navy

Our daughter is in her 2nd week of Navy Recruit Training. 3 days after she started boot camp, we received her backpack via UPS, all her clothing, shoes, and phone were returned. There has only been one "letter" from her so far. It was the information form letter sent the first week of boot camp. "Mom and Dad" was penciled in the salutation line, with a couple more penciled entries--information only, like address, graduation date information and a brief personal "I miss you" note at the end of the letter...we were asked to continue sending letters, even though we get none in return, as the recruits are busy and have little time for themselves. I joined the "navyformoms.com" website to glean as much information as I can---it is helpful.

Absolutely nothing new on the home sale...just waiting for the "right" buyer! It has been shown, averaging one a week, so it still is getting internet hits..we'll plan for another open  house in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Panama City Beach, FL and catch up news

  Our daughter, her friend and I got home about 2:00 today, my husband flew back to Baltimore yesterday from PCB's airport--it's not much bigger than the old one, but way out in West Bay---about 6 miles past my aunt's house, instead of making a hard right after West Bay bridge to her house, you make a soft right to the airport....

The girls jet skied twice, 5-hr deep sea fished (and each caught "a brown" one), Goofy golfed--I won a free game and the lady at the counter would not let me give the ticket to the next group of people--she told me it was good "forever" and that it would make me come back! The girls shopped at Pier Park, we laid on umbrella chairs at the beach and lounged by the pool--did absolutely nothing! Drank many Corona's and I had a "hurricane day" at the pool--won't do that again any time soon!!! Ate out a couple of times--Capt. Anderson's food was so good!! but we still haven't found a good, reasonably priced restaurant--it's disappointing!

The condo was a downer---several maintenance issues on arrival, enough that the owner himself came by (lives in TX) to help---even the 2 smoke detectors were not hooked up..just sitting in separate drawers, one was beeping! A patio chair was broken off it's legs and just laying on the balcony, the pantry door did not close, light bulbs were out, and the arm of the front door closing mechanism was not attached to the door, resulting in a gouged out area on the wall--did the cleaning people not see these things?? I sent an email to the management folks (who are not associated with the condo complex) and response was slow--took 1 1/2 days to get someone there----anyway, things were workable....

We stayed at Shores of Panama, a 4-yr old property on Thomas Drive, 23 stories tall with a "parking garage" that was 11 stories tall--but you could not fit 2 cars in the turns, only 1/2 the elevators were working at any one time (we were on the 21st floor--so walking was not an option!), the paint on the outside looked good and the lobby was nice--with the salt water aquarium...the pool was the best I've been in in PCB...the building is shaped like a horseshoe with all the room balconies facing in and the pool is in the center of the horseshoe...one weird thing that happened during a rain/lightning storm is that the cooped-up vacationers began hooping and hollering off the balconies, blowing horns or just screaming and ooohing and ahhhing at the lightening strikes on the water---people are strange!!!

Saw a couple pods of dolphins feeding at the 2nd sand bar...and a baby hammerhead shark, about 2 feet long, just swimming with us in the Gulf!!! The water was beautiful until the day after the storm--as usual it filled with that snotty seaweed and changed the color to tan instead of gorgeous turquoise...but that was the day before we left, so I spent the last day at the pool taking in those last rays...

We hosted (even tho we weren't home) a successful realtor open house this past Friday resulting in 1 showing on Saturday. Sunday--about 6 couples showed up during the 2 hour public open house..our agent is following up with 2 of the couples and will let us know...no showings since Sunday.

Our daughter heads to Pittsburgh, PA Friday morning for a quick visit with family and friends and returns on Monday afternoon--then drug testing that evening and on to Navy basic training on the 19th--actually she goes to a Nashville hotel that night and gets sworn in, and then to Chicago on the 20th. I still don't have her graduation date yet--but will let you know---

Haven't told the kids this yet, but---my husband's company has been awarded the contract for Nashville's convention center---currently beams are standing in concrete and the parking garage is almost finished---as of last week he will be transferred to that job effective September--kinda puts a kink in our plans, but will only delay us for about 9 months...we still plan to sell the house and move to an apartment....

Central America isn't going anywhere----

Friday, May 27, 2011

FINISHED!

The project manager came by today and had me sign off on the scope of work...it's all finished, and the house looks great..

Our real estate agent came by last night with another agent to give me some pointers on staging the house. I passed with flying colors! They told me that we were "99%" there"--just a couple of tweaks: completely clear the shelves in our office, remove a 2-top table from the back patio and  remove our antique trunk from the study--easy!

So, the plans are to have a realtor open house on Friday, June 3 and a public open house on Sunday, June 5. 

Now to keep the house as pristine as it is today---

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

They're still here

Still painting, drywall patching because it "just doesn't look right yet". One of the painters left ill yesterday, leaving the other alone--he finished at 5, promising to return this morning to finish. The ill guy from yesterday and a new guy showed up today, they've been doing a lot of waiting for things to dry......

I had window washers lined up for today--they came an hour early and got started right away.

I've been cleaning the laundry room--really dusty....

Tomorrow will be my touch up painting day.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The House is Winning!

The flooring installers arrived this morning and began to work right away. They had to scrape the old glue off the sub floor before they could begin to nail down the flooring planks. We went with engineered flooring and the same stain color for ease of installation (no sanding or stain or polyurethane coats required).

After 7 hours of work, the installer noticed--when he walked into the foyer under indirect lighting--that he could see each and every staple in the tongue and groove flooring. They proceeded to rip it all out. Purchased glue and will return at 7:30a.m. to glue the flooring down. Perhaps that's why the flooring was glued down to begin with?

It's mid-work, how are we doing?

The drywall has taken 1 day longer than scheduled, because they returned to remove the toilet and pedestal sink from the powder room.  This is not interfering with the flooring removal or installation. I've also asked them to paint the ceiling and hallway in the garage, so they "mudded" those areas as well and will paint when the flooring is finished.

The flooring took a full 8 hours to remove. Some of the furniture was moved into the awaiting "pod." The planks were glued down so it took extra effort not to gouge the sub floor. The guys had to disconnect the electrical outlet on the kitchen island and unscrew it from the floor so it could be moved as the flooring was beneath the island as well. I did find out after several hours that the refrigerator outlet was also turned off with the circuit breaker! All the food seemed cool...

No worries!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mini Mexican vacation

Ever heard of Puerto Penasco?

We have friends who live in Phoenix. Their family owns condos in Puerto Penasco and we were invited to join 3 other couples for a 5 day getaway.

Inspite of our trauma at home with the water damage, we decided there was nothing we could do, so we went.

A 4 hour flight to Phoenix and a 4 hour car ride to our destination. We were stopped at the border because our hosts were bringing in a smoker and alot of totes containers of food and supplies. The Mexican border patrol actually went through one of the suitcases. Then about 30 seconds into the country, we were stopped for speeding and let go because we were tourists!

Pto Penasco is located opposite the Baja Peninsula on the Mexican mainland near the northernmost part of the Sea of Cortez. It's a sleepy town, awash in souvenir shops and 2nd floor restaurants all along the main drag. Shrimping and fishing are the main employers of the locals. High rise condo complexes, in various phases of construction dot the coastline for a couple of miles outside the town. Several of the complexes have come to a complete halt in their construcion, due to the slow economy. This area greatly depends upon the Phoenix and Tucson gringos for their tourist dollars and 2nd home investments.

We stayed at the Sonoran Sea condos--right on the sea, heated pool and hot tubs, great views of the setting sun, comfortable accommodations, saw dolphins feeding early in the morning right off our beach. The tide fluctuates as much as 23 feet..it leaves many tidepools that just beg to be explored.

Our last night was in Puerto Privada-in a condo owned by the family of one of our hosts--its an upscale complex, not available for weekly rentals. Again right on the sea, heated pool and hot tubs, beautiful accommodations, large party room, approximately 1 mile closer to town than Sonoran Sea.

We had dinner out one night at "Ramones"--the one in the barrio, not at Sonoran Sea..good fish fry, all you can eat... the Cadillac Margarita, powerful stuff!! We also breakfasted at Coffee Haus, near town, really good breakfast menu..homemade apple strudel came highly recommended.

Too little time to enjoy all of what there is to offer--I guess we must return!

Belize Dreaming

Our son has to write and present a 20 minute speech on a trip he has taken. He, of course, has chosen Belize.

Last night we were discussing his speech and it brought back such fond memories!
Our last vacation in Belize was with our kids in 2004. We decided to visit the rainforest as well as Ambergris Caye. Our choice was to fly in to Belize City, rent a jeep, drive to near Belmopan and stay at the Green Dragon Dome Home next door to Banana Bank for about a week. Our meal plan was with Banana Bank. From there we explored the area! To get to the "main" road, we had to forge the river on a ferry--when it rained the ferry was out of commission and we were stranded one day at Banana Bank...we visited Cahal Pech, Tikal and Xunantunich, cave tubed, the zoo, played in the pool, went horseback riding and just enjoyed listening to the howlers at dusk. Then went to Ambergris Caye for 3 days, the flight in to the island was exciting and the view spectacular,  we snorkled with the nurse sharks and stingrays, hung out in the pool, had fun driving around in the golf carts (even though ours broke down north of the bridge!).

So what will it be like when we get there? I have spent some time daydreaming about just that....I know it'll be different than vacationing, we'll actually have to do laundry and cook for ourselves...but knowing what it feels like, smells like and tastes like only whets my appetite for more.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The house knows!

Unbelievable!

During the garage sale, we had a "coming soon" house for sale sign in our front yard. It did create some interest--a woman "had" to see the house, even though it was not ready for the market, we allowed the agent to show the house. We found out that she had a contract on another house in our neighborhood, was having difficulty with the owners and was looking for a way out of that contract. After all the hullabaloo, the 2 parties solved their differences and she was no longer interested in our house.

Easter Sunday, two days before my husband and I were to leave for a 5-day mini vacation in Mexico, our daughter went to take a shower, turned on the faucet in the upstairs tub but no water came out of the faucet--instead we heard it running down between the walls! My husband reacted quickly and turned the water off to the house. Here we are, Easter night, no water...called the insurance company, found a plumber and restoration group and had them come out the next afternoon.

It's amazing how far a little bit of water will wick! The family room and kitchen ceiling will need to be redone, the engineered flooring (that was just refinished in January) will need to be entirely replaced, the carpeting dried sufficiently well with the 7 fans and 2 dehumidifiers that ran for 4 days, but require cleaning and deodorizing.

As I write this, the insurance adjuster is waiting for approval of the estimate before we begin the repair work. I contacted our real estate agent and put the marketing plan on hold until we have a better time line.

I swear, the house knows we are planning to selling it!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Garage Sale Success!!

We just had a wildly successful garage sale!

It took 3 weekends to prepare--from deciding what exactly we wanted to sell to setting up the "store".

The most difficult task was choosing what to sell. Our plan was to donate what did not sell. The daunting task of going through all our stuff- took 2 weekends. As I referred in an earlier post--"only touch it once"-- proved to be difficult. The biggest question we had to ask ourselves is if the thing would be useful in Belize...most of our household wound up on the chopping block!

We then organized the tables into "departments"--each table essentially had like-items (ie. kitchen, tools, glassware, and holiday decorations--each holiday had it's own space). We also placed the majority of items in plastic bins and labeled them either 25 or 50 cents. Our store took up our 3-car garage.

Two days prior, I went to the bank for change and posted the garage sale signs..fortunately for us (and dumb luck as well) the neighborhood across the street held their annual garage sale the same day. Our signs and times corresponded with theirs.

The night before, we made sure all was ready...only the 18 boxes of books had to be placed for the sale.

The signs we had posted advertised the sale to be from 8-2...we were placing the boxes and moving a couple of items out of the garage at 6:30--an elderly gentleman drove up and asked if he could just look around--"there are about 100 yard sales today". So we made our first $7 at 6:34 a.m.!! By 8 we had about 25 people shop!

The rest of the day was crazy busy! Two of our neighbors brought items over to sell--and they sold almost everything! The crowd was steady and thick! 2:00 came and everything had died down. So we closed shop.

The next day we made 3 trips to Goodwill and one to the library.

What a great feeling to have purged all our stuff--it feels as though a weight has been lifted!!




Monday, April 11, 2011

Garage Sale Prep

Garage sales are a lot of work!

We spent the better part of the last  2 weekends bringing "stuff" to the garage--from the attic and the house. It was a family project. The kids were less than enthusiastic about helping, until they realized they will reap $ from the sale of "their" stuff--then it took on a whole new level of expectation!

I am overwhelmed with the amount of holiday decorations we have! We inherited many of the "minor" holiday decor from my mother--she was a decorating nut!
Our big family decorating holiday has been Halloween--we're known in the neighborhood for putting on a haunted house. Last year's was the best--albeit the last one--we had our daughter's JROTC friends as actors, we hosted about 300 people, and offered 2 scare levels: one for little kids where the actors danced, and the 2nd was the terrifying one--screaming, slamming doors, jumping out at people, just all 'round scary fun!! A couple of folks even told us that our haunted house was better than the ones they had paid for!! I digress--our Halloween, Xmas and Thanksgiving decorations take up about 1/3 of the floor space!

Household items just keep showing up in the garage--kitchen, kids stuff, tools and men's toys, books, we have 7 tables of treasures plus at least 15 bins of 25 and 50 cent items!!

What is the saying--Someone's junk is another's treasure--well, the garage is now a maze of cartons, boxes and tables of "treasures" just waiting to be discovered! We've almost run out of room!

5 days and counting!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Polishing Silver

I spent 3 hours today polishing silver. Silver plated mostly. Things from my grandmothers and my mother, things given to us as wedding gifts...flatware, platters, bowls, trays and even a monogramed tea set.

Why? My motivation is to sell. I have no desire to move them to Central America and become an instant target for theft. Also, these items are never used, they stay wrapped and in the china cupboard. We have never had a formal evening at our home. Perhaps someone else will use them.

I was able to sell 2 silver candleholders and silver-lipped coasters to a local antique jeweler. They do not buy silver plated items, but gave me a name of a local antique dealer who does.

I looked on line to try to sell the silver plated items to a replacement service, but could not easily find the patterns or the manufacturer and the service required photos, measurements, etc....too labor intensive! Ebay was useless as well. So, I have an appointment tomorrow with the local antique dealer who purchases silver plated items.

Never thought it would be so difficult to get rid of "silver." Today's silver trading price was $39/oz!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Still Purging!

What a chore!

Not enough boxes--having to raid the local liquor store almost on a daily basis to clean out their boxes...it's the only place we've found that has not compacted or torn up the boxes.

We packed up 22 boxes of books--children's books, fiction, non-fiction, travel, spiritual/religious, coffee table picture books, cookbooks--books, books, books! The plan is to try to sell as many as we can at the garage sale and then donate the rest to the local library.

Started on the garage this past weekend--it was cold outside..we were only able to complete 1/3. Too much stuff! The garbage can was overflowing!

The garage sale pile is starting to overtake the garage!

Just had to vent--back to packing!!


Where To Go During An Earthquake

I would like to share this article with you. I received it from a friend in an email.

"Remember that stuff about hiding under a table or standing in a doorway? Well, forget it! This is a real eye opener. It could save your life someday.

EXTRACT FROM DOUG COPP'S ARTICLE ON 'THE TRIANGLE OF LIFE'


My name is Doug Copp. I am the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International (ARTI ), the world's most experienced rescue team. The information in this article will save lives in an earthquake.

I have crawled inside 875 collapsed buildings, worked with rescue teams from 60 countries, founded rescue teams in several countries, and I am a member of many rescue teams from many countries. I was the United Nations expert in Disaster Mitigation for two years, and have worked at every major disaster in the world since 1985, except for simultaneous disasters.

The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under its desk. Every child was crushed to the thickness of their bones. They could have survived by lying down next to their desks in the aisles. It was obscene -- unnecessary.

Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to them - NOT under them. This space is what I call the 'triangle of life'. The larger the object, the stronger, the less it will compact. The less the object compacts, the larger the void, the greater the probability that the person who is using this void for safety will not be injured. The next time you watch collapsed buildings, on television, count the 'triangles' you see formed. They are everywhere. It is the most common shape, you will see, in a collapsed building.

TIPS FOR EARTHQUAKE SAFETY


1) Most everyone who simply 'ducks and covers' when building collapse are crushed to death. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, are crushed.

2) Cats, dogs and babies often naturally curl up in the fetal position. You should too in an earthquake. It is a natural safety/survival instinct. You can survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a bed, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.

3) Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during an earthquake. Wood is flexible and moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks. Bricks will cause many injuries but less squashed bodies than concrete slabs.

4) If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply roll off the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed. Hotels can achieve a much greater survival rate in earthquakes, simply by posting a sign on the back of the door of every room telling occupants to lie down on the floor, next to the bottom of the bed during an earthquake.

5) If an earthquake happens and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair.

6) Most everyone who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed. How? If you stand under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the door jam falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you will be killed!

7) Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different 'moment of frequency' (they swing separately from the main part of the building). The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads - horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn't collapse, stay away from the stairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be damaged. Even if the stairs are not collapsed by the earthquake, they may collapse later when overloaded by fleeing people. They should always be checked for safety, even when the rest of the building is not damaged.

8) Get near the outer walls of buildings or outside of them if possible - It is much better to be near the outside of the building rather than the interior. The farther inside you are from the outside perimeter of the building the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked.

9) People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above falls in an earthquake and crushes their vehicles; which is exactly what happened with the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway. The victims of the San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their vehicles. They were all killed. They could have easily survived by getting out and sitting or lying next to their vehicles. Everyone killed would have survived if they had been able to get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them. All the crushed cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars that had columns fall directly across them.

10) I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.

Spread the word and save someone's life...
The entire world is experiencing natural calamities so be prepared!

'We are but angels with one wing, it takes two to fly'

In 1996 we made a film, which proved my survival methodology to be correct. The Turkish Federal Government, City of Istanbul, University of Istanbul Case Productions and ARTI cooperated to film this practical, scientific test. We collapsed a school and a home with 20 mannequins inside. Ten mannequins did 'duck and cover,' and ten mannequins I used in my 'triangle of life' survival method. After the simulated earthquake collapse we crawled through the rubble and entered the building to film and document the results. The film, in which I practiced my survival techniques under directly observable, scientific conditions , relevant to building collapse, showed there would have been zero percent survival for those doing duck and cover.

There would likely have been 100 percent survivability for people using my method of the 'triangle of life.' This film has been seen by millions of viewers on television in Turkey and the rest of Europe, and it was seen in the USA , Canada and Latin America on the TV program Real TV."


Monday, March 21, 2011

Staging the house for a quick sell

I've read some things online and watched HGTV--these seem to be topics that are common to staging a house prior to putting it on the market.

It's all about the buyer envisioning themselves in the space.
Neutralize the decor and color scheme.
Let the light in.
Paint neutral (earth tones), browns, greens, maybe blues...remember colors do affect people psychologically--stay away from reds! Yellow does subconsciously say "buy me"-- it might be better to put yellow outside in planted flowers...
Plan the furniture arrangement so there is ample space to walk around the pieces of furniture.
The curb appeal is key--cut the grass, plant someting that will bloom during the initial offering, new welcome mat, have the windows cleaned, powerwash and paint as needed.

Get rid of all personal items.
Make the house look like an upscale hotel room.
Family photos are a no-no.
Buyers don't want to know that you actually use your bathroom either. Place all bathing supplies in a shower caddy and keep them under the bathroom sink.
No garbage in the house!

You're selling space.
And buyers will look EVERYWHERE! Under sinks, in medicine cabinets, in closets, kitchen and bathroom drawers....Nothing is sacred!
Make sure it's well organized and clean!
A good hint for the closet is to purge enough clothing so that you can reach into the hung items and not touch the garments on either side of the one you choose.
What about that garage??



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ready? Set! Purge! (again!)

It's time.

We plan to liquidate our entire household. This will be my 21st move, 7th with my husband. With that many moves, we've tried to cut down on the "stuff" and not become emotionally attached to things, whether they be tchotchke's or a house.

Many of the organizational guru's say there is only one way to do this. Make 3 piles: keep, throw away and sell/give to charity. Only touch an item one time and place it in the appropriate pile. Be decisive!

So what do we keep, that will (or might) be useful?
Clothes, for sure. Summer and spring seasons seem to match the climate. Long sleeved shirts and long pants as well, it might get chilly--especially in the mountains. Sturdy shoes, hiking boots, sandals. Raingear. Bathing suits and snorkel gear.

Personal items: prescriptions--medical and glasses/contacts, passport, driver's license, credit/debit card.

A laptop.

That's pretty much all we plan to take with us.

Should we keep anything in storage?
Ideally no--but what about: photos, tax records, winter clothes (just in case we return in the cold weather).

The throw away pile will consist of just that--things we have not gotten around to throwing away until now.

And the sell/give to charity pile will be things that can recycled and used by others. We will have a garage sale a week prior to putting our house on the market. Anything that does not sell will be given to charity or sent to a consignment shop. I like the idea of a consignment for household furniture--many of the shops will come to the house, pick up the items and cut a check right away!

We have about 6 weeks until the house goes on the market, 5 weeks until the garage sale. We have rented a storage space to help us stage the house and hold the kid's keep piles.

Better get to work!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Can you know a country, its culture and people without a little history?


How did this tiny country wind up with a tossed salad mix of cultures?


With over 900 Mayan sites in ruin today, one can imagine the grandeur of the Maya civilization that flourished from 600BCE to the beginning of "the decline" in 900AD.

1000 - competition for dominance throughout Central America.
1250 - Mayapan, in the Yucatan, becomes the center of influence with trading between the Maya in Belize and those in the Yucatan.

The Spaniards arrived in the early 1500’s, brought with them smallpox, hookworm and malaria, and little tolerance for native culture.
The 1600’s ushered in Buccaneers and Pirates: "Admiral" Benbow, "Blackbeard" Teach, William Bannister and others. In their spare time, these villains were involved in logging (with the "Baymen") --for its black, red and gray dyes--but plundered galleons in the Caribbean as the notion took them.
Colonized by the British in the mid-1600’s.

The mahogany trade brought the first black slaves from Jamaica in the early 1700’s.
The territory was named British Honduras in 1765.
Early 1800’s found the Black Caribs, from Guatemala and Honduras, enter British Honduras, while the Kechki and Mopan Indians also found refuge as they left Guatemala's forced labor coffee plantations.
Mid-1800’s the Mestizo’s from southern Mexico fled into Belize as a race war raged in the Yucatan. Sepoys, deported from India after a rebellion showed up in 1857.
British Honduras was officially declared a British colony in 1862.
An influx of refugee Confederate supporters from the southern US settled in 1866.

The 1900’s ushered in a growth of the people’s politics, "Natives First" movement, Belizean Labour Party, and People’s United Party (PUP) and United Democratic Party (UDP) were all founded.
Riots in 1919 started by black Belizean soldiers over their bad treatment in WWI—Belize City looted.
Hurricane of 1931, killed 2,500.
Mennonites arrived from Mexico in 1958.
Hurricane Hattie destroyed most of the buildings in Belize City in 1961. Capital moved to Belmopan in 1970.
British Honduras was renamed Belize in 1973 and became independent in 1981.
1998 began a 10-year rule for the PUP.

2006 commercial oil drilling began.
In 2008 a landslide victory for the United Democratic Party (UDP) with Dean Barrow as the first black prime minister.


The above information was gathered through reading:
Insight Guides, "Belize", by the Discovery Channel
"Belize Guide", Paul Glassman

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Belize—really?

As soon as we tell anyone about our plans to move to Belize, invariably the question asked of us is, "Why Belize?" Because few folks have experienced this tiny Central American country, the follow-up question, "Where is Belize?" seems to never be too far behind.

 

Good things really do come in small packages.
From the westernmost border with Guatemala, the edge of the Caribbean is never more than 75 miles away and the country stretches 180 miles from Mexico, in the north, to Guatemala, in the south. With an area of 8,866 sq. miles, Belize is only slightly larger than Massachusetts.
 
Something for just about everyone:
Natural wonders abound: largest barrier reef in the Western hemisphere, coral atolls, idyllic cayes (islands), lush rain forests, rivers, mountains, exotic wildlife: jaguar, manatee, birds, tapir, howler monkey, fish.
Adventures await: swimming, snorkeling, diving, boating, hiking, biking, cave tubing, canoeing, fresh and salt water fishing, rough roads, horseback riding, Mayan ruins galore (over 900 documented sites).
Relax, refresh, renew as the sun bathes you in its warmth, the Caribbean gently laps at your feet and tropical breezes sway palm trees along footprint-less beaches.

And the people
The Belizeans describe themselves as "a Caribbean nation in Central America." Because of the British heritage, English is the official language. The entire country’s population is estimated between 300,000-400,000. Belize has one of the youngest populations in the world—more than 50% are under the age of 18.
The tossed salad of color and culture consists of: Creole - 25 %, Mestizo -50 %, Garifuna - 7 %, Maya -8%, East Indians – 3.5%, Syrians, Lebanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, North American and Mennonites – 6.5%. They all seem to just get along!
The best quote I’ve found to describe this mix of cultures is by Belizean artist Phillip Lewis: "A tink a si wan new Belize weh di creole man, di mestizo, di Garifuna, and di Maya, no separate…but instead all da Belizeans." "I think I see a new Belize where the creole, the mestizo, the Garifuna and the Maya are not separated…but united as Belizeans."
We feel welcome in Belize, by and large the Belizeans are a friendly and welcoming bunch of people. For the most part, Belizeanas genuinely like Americans, Canadians and Europeans!
 
Little known and little developed, Belize brims with hospitality and nature just waiting to be experienced.


The above information was gathered through reading:
Insight Guides, "Belize", by the Discovery Channel
"Belize Guide", Paul Glassman

Monday, March 7, 2011

Let us frame the reasons for the move to Belize:

    • Been there, and love it!
As tourists, we have traversed the country, from the rain forests and mountains, to the cayes. Enjoyed the lull of Howler monkeys as they claim their evening territories, stepped over tarantulas, stood with mouth agape as the toucans and parrots flew overhead. Climbed the Mayan temples and envisioned the ancient culture. Cave tubing, snorkeling with the nurse sharks and sting rays, horseback riding, hiking, and just kicking back and enjoying the locals.
What’s not to love about Belize?
Weather, eco-lots of stuff, Mayan ruins galore, "new" wildlife to get to know, warm Caribbean waters, the people!, rain forests, mountains, beaches, islands, rough roads, laid-back lifestyle, rivers, caves, cenotes. Lots of things to do—or not!

    • Empty nest!
Our children will no longer be at home with us. Our son has graduated from Belmont University and seeking gainful employment. Our daughter has signed with the US Navy.
    • Downsize!
Goes with the territory! Our house sold in March 2012. We are renting an apartment with our son. This will give us a stateside address until we settle completely in Belize.
    • Early retirement!
Woo Hoo!! Tired of the rat race, stress and wish to slow down—